Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Conciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Markers for WWII Games

    Posted By on July 30, 2015

    Markers for WWII Games

    Markers for WWII Games

    Often in WWII games you want some number of folks to have panzerfausts.  It is convenient to use small markers to denote which figures are carrying them so that when they are fired you can remove them from the game.  Also, it is helpful to have markers to show that machine-guns are set up and ready to use, because I don’t always have all the machine-gun teams in both moving and stationary poses.  I got the panzerfausts and US .30-cal machine-guns from The Assault Group and made the markers pictured above.  I left the bases with the khaki boarder to make them easily distinguished from figures in a game.  I may decide they are too visible and flock the edges later.

    Completed Even More Crooked Dice Figures

    Posted By on July 30, 2015

    The BEST Doctor and Two Companions

    The BEST Doctor and Two Companions

    In previous posts I reported on my progress painting up the Crooked Dice figures from a large order that Greg and I submitted some months back.  Despite an eye exam yesterday that left me dilated and blurry, I managed to knock out the last of the Crooked Dice figures I had on hand.

    The Doctor and Two Companions

    The Doctor and Two Companions

    Now Greg and I have to figure out when we are going to run a big Dr. Who inspired game!

    Assorted Companions

    Assorted Companions

    Another G.A.M.E.R. Play Test

    Posted By on July 26, 2015

    Any readers of this blog will know that I have been working on a set of WWII skirmish rueles for over two years.  I ran another game this weekend to test out the rules.  I had intended to test out a new system for morale, but after just a few turns it was clear that the new system was no better than the old one, and the players didn’t like to have to do math (two additions and a subtraction), so I went back to the original system.

    I had been toying with changing one aspect of the rules, and after Saturday’s game, I decide to pull the trigger on the change.  I have been keeping up with counting grenades and rifle grenades for units in the game.  One of the results when shooting is “out of ammunition.”  I am going to change this so that when an “out of ammunition” result is drawn on the cards that:

    • For small arms, the weapon is out of ammunition, jammed, or something.  This can be reloaded, “cleared,” or whatever with one action in a subsequent turn.
    • For anti-tank guns or tank guns, the weapon is out of ammunition, jammed, or something.  This can be reloaded, “cleared,” or whatever with one action in a subsequent turn.
    • For shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons, hand grenades, rifle grenades, flame throwers, etc. the squad has run out of that munition or weapon.  This cannot be corrected during a game.  The squad has no more hand grenades, for instance.
    • For single-shot weapons, like panzerfausts, the round was a dud or misfired.  Since this is a one-shot weapon, it cannot be fired again during the game.

    That required a change to the unit record sheet.

    Old version of unit record sheet

    Old version of unit record sheet

    Now the game master just puts a check in the “yes” box if the squad begins the game with that type of weapon and checks the “no” box otherwise.

    New version of unit record sheet

    New version of unit record sheet

    American Paras with Panzerfausts

    Posted By on July 26, 2015

    A couple weeks ago, I posted a quick discussion about how MG Gavin was so impressed with the panzerfaust that the 82nd collected up truckloads of them in Sicily.  Soon after a drop, when the heavy equipment arrived, these trucks of panzerfausts would follow the troops.  He even had the instructions for their use translated into English.  For my 28mm WWII project I wanted to equip US paras with panzerfausts, but when I posted to TMP to see if anyone made the figures, the answer was “no.”

    At Historicon last weekend I got a bag of Berlin or Bust 28mm paras with rifles from Old Glory.  A couple weeks ago I ordered panzerfausts from The Assault Group.  This morning, I started hacking at the figures to remove the rifles and insert the panzerfausts.

    These aren’t award-winning quality conversations, but I am pretty happy with the results.  I can’t wait to spring these on some unsuspecting German players in an upcoming scenario.

    A Couple More Crooked Dice Figures

    Posted By on July 25, 2015

    Three of the Doctor's companions

    Three of the Doctor's companions

    I couldn’t sleep, so I got up at 0300 and completed these figures.

    Two characters from The Prisoner

    Two characters from The Prisoner

    Miscellaneous HAWKs Room Games at Historicon 2015

    Posted By on July 20, 2015

    Geoff's Lego pirate game

    Geoff's Lego pirate game

    In this post, I am including a mix of games hosted on Saturday by the HAWKs at Historicon 2015.  They are in no particular order.  Enjoy!

    David's cowboy game using Blood and Swash

    David's cowboy game using Blood and Swash

    David's Blood and Swash cowboy game

    Duncan's cat game

    Duncan's cat game, based on the Warriors book series

    Noah's ever popular dungeon crawl

    Noah's ever popular dungeon crawl

    Dave's 28mm fantasy game using Bear Yourselves Valiantly

    Dave's 28mm fantasy game using Bear Yourselves Valiantly

    Tank's Bear Yourselves Valiantly "phalanx" game

    Tank's Bear Yourselves Valiantly "phalanx" game

     

    Zombie Shopping Mall at Historicon 2015

    Posted By on July 20, 2015

    Several of the HAWKs and I ran our zombie shopping mall game at Historicon.  This shot (above) is the calm before the storm, before the game began.

    We used GASLIGHT with the free Zombies by GASLIGHT supplement.

    The theater that Bill built for the game even had Dawn of the Dead playing on the screen.

    Mike Miller from Texas was the winner, getting 7 points of supplies out of the mall.  He controlled the A Team, but only Face made it out.

    Vittoria with Fate of Battle in HAWKs Room at Historicon 2015

    Posted By on July 20, 2015

    Dave (far left) and Duncan (far right) teamed up again to host the Battle of Vittoria using the Fate of Battle rules.  They tweaked the scenario a bit from Cold Wars, and by all accounts the changes made the scenario more interesting for the players.  I was busy running my own game at the time, but the players appeared to be having fun.  There was a LOT of movement, unlike many Napoleonic battles are have armies lined up hub-to-hub across the table.

    I thought the table also looked good!

    Noah’s Skirmish Sangin Game at Historicon

    Posted By on July 20, 2015

    Noah Guibalt, one of the HAWKs, ran a popular and well-attended Skirmish Sangin game Saturday afternoon in the HAWKs room at Historicon.  The following pictures are in no particular order.

    Defense of Schloss Iter at Historicon 2015

    Posted By on July 20, 2015

    I ran this game twice at Historicon, once for kids and once as a normal convention game.  The basic scenario involves a squad (or so) of German Wehrmacht infantry and a US tank crew defending French VIP prisoners in a castle (Schloss Iter) in Austria against Waffen SS troops sent to kill them.  This is a real incident that happened in the last week or so of WWII.

    The pictures are in no particular order and mix the two games together.  The intent is not to provide a battle narrative, but rather to show some interesting pictures of what turned out to be two fun games.

    In the version aimed at kids, the defenders won.  There were three “key” prisoners in the castle (for game purposes).  The attackers killed one of the three.  Since the defenders maintained two of the three, I called if a defender victory.

    In the general version (which also had some younger gamers) the attackers fought their way into the courtyard and killed all the defenders.  In all the play tests and running of the game, this was the first attacker victory.

    The Waffen SS about the charge into the courtyard as the defenders turn to face inward

    The Waffen SS about the charge into the courtyard as the defenders turn to face inward

    For rules, I used my under-development GAMER system (see previous posts).  The rules worked well, and I think the players caught onto them quickly and easily.

    Even the moms got into the game!

    Even the moms got into the game!

     

    The Waffen SS score a mobility kill on the Sherman at the gate house.

    The Waffen SS score a mobility kill on the Sherman at the gate house.